What is stollen? How do you pronounce it and why does AFS have a party named after it? 

In 1940, Don Lloyd began a tradition which continues today, more than 80 years later, the AFS Stollen Party. Associated Food Stores began this tradition on its first Christmas, inviting each vendor that sold to AFS to show appreciation for their business and loyalty.     

This year, hundreds of vendors began arriving shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Friday, December 9. President and CEO David Rice greeted visitors as did other executives and team members who welcomed the many attendees just as others have done during the company’s long history.  

The first years were very difficult for Associated Food Stores. Larger organizations threatened and intimidated any vendor who sold or did business with the company. Many vendors risked losing valuable accounts with some of the larger stores, just for doing business with the “little upstart” Associated Food Stores. Fortunately, most of the vendors remained loyal, helping build the foundation of the strong company that exists today.  

The stollen is a traditional holiday bread given to show gratitude. Members of AFS’ executive staff and other AFS team members greet vendors as they arrive. Vendors are presented with the holiday stollen, then served lunch in the education center. The stollen has its origins in Dresden, Germany and is a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit. It was first mentioned in an official document in 1474 and has been part of Associated Food Stores’ history since the company’s beginnings. The stollen distributed at the stollen party is made by the AFS bakery team at the Dick’s Market in Bountiful. It is a complex baking assignment and is a two-day process. To learn how to pronounce the word stollen in proper German, click here. 

It is the support and loyalty of these vendors that has helped Associated Food Stores become a two-billion-dollar-a-year organization serving more than 400 retailers in nine western states.   

Watch for a behind-the-scenes video showing how the AFS bakery team makes the traditional stollen in an upcoming issue of Team News.